Big Ten Conference (27-5, 14-4)
Big Wins: 11/23 vs Tennessee (73-72), 1/1 West Virginia (77-62), 2/17 at Ohio State (60-57)
Bad Losses: 1/16 at Northwestern (64-72), 2/9 at Michigan State (76-64), 3/13 vs Minnesota (42-69)
Last NCAA Appearance: 2009, Sweet Sixteen loss to Connecticut
Coach: Matt Painter (4-4 in 4 NCAA appearances)
Why They Can Surprise:
Even when their probable starting point guard, Lewis Jackson, went down with an injury before the season started, Purdue had plenty of other options on the perimeter to carry the load. E’Twaun Moore, Chris Kramer and Keaton Grant are all experienced ballhandlers and that is why the Boilermakers commit very few turnovers. Jackson’s health is back in question after suffering a leg injury in the conference tournament, but Purdue has been successful with and without him. For the most part the group on the perimeter also takes very smart shots and every player on the perimeter can be a leader.
Moore is the pure scorer of the bunch. He can hit the long ball, but the 6-4 junior does most of his damage by attacking the basket. Kramer and Grant are not great scorers, but both play an important role on this team. Kramer is a superb defender who always seems to be among the conference leaders in steals. He also ranked second on the team in assists this year and will simply make plays when Purdue needs it most. Grant has the potential to score more, but his shot has not been falling most of the season.
Why They Can Disappoint:
The main problem for the Boilermakers is their lack of three-point shooting. Moore can get hot at times and forward Robbie Hummel is out with an injury. Hummel’s versatility and leadership will be greatly missed, as will his rebounding which leads to Purdue’s other major weakness. The guards rarely help out on the glass and without Hummel it puts all the pressure on center JaJuan Johnson. Johnson is always a double-double threat, but the lack of depth up front puts the Boilermakers in deep trouble on the glass when Johnson needs a break or run into foul trouble.
Who To Watch:
Freshman Kelsey Barlow has the job of trying to replace Hummel in the starting lineup. On the year the 6-5 Indianapolis, Indiana native is only averaging 3.5 points and 2.2 rebounds and he is certainly undersized to play the four spot. However, Purdue has few other options at this point. Barlow has had some good games and is a versatile wing who can help out on the glass and score by attacking the basket, but he is far from being Hummel. The only other option is Patrick Bade. Bade has played sparingly, but at 6-8 and 235 pounds, at least the freshman has some size. At the least he has to give Johnson a break on occasion. Yet, neither of those freshmen is really ready to play a significant role on this team and whenever possible Purdue will add a guard to the lineup in place of Hummel and move the 6-4 Grant to the four spot.
E’Twaun Moore, Junior, Guard, 16.6 ppg, 2.7 apg
Chris Kramer, Senior, Guard, 6.3 ppg, 2.3 apg, 1.6 spg
Keaton Grant, Senior, Guard, 6.6 ppg, 1.8 apg
Kelsey Barlow, Freshman, Forward, 3.5 ppg, 2.2 rpg
JaJuan Johnson, Junior, Center, 15.2 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 1.9 bpg
Patrick Bade, Freshman, Forward, 1.6 ppg, 1.7 rpg
Lewis Jackson, Sophomore, Guard, 2.2 ppg, 2.9 apg
Ryne Smith, Sophomore, Guard, 2.5 ppg, 1.0 rpg
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 72.1 (98th in nation, 4th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 60.6 (23, 3)
Field-Goal Percentage: 45.5 (76, 4)
Field-Goal Defense: 40.2 (44, 3)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.5 (235, 9)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 32.6 (220, 9)
Free-Throw Percentage: 73.3 (33, 2)
Rebound Margin: 0.0 (194, 7)
Assists Per Game: 14.4 (70, 6)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.0 (16, 3)
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